Sunday, August 14, 2011

Colonization: Down to Earth by Harry Turtledove

Sequel to Colonization: Second Contact, the series set after the Worldwar series.

The Worldwar/Colonization series continues to be super awesome. You'd think the setting would run out of relevant story, but it's just heating up in Down to Earth! The characters from Second Contact (I don't think there were any new ones) continue to be compelling and exciting. I continue to enjoy the series greatly, although I am running out of new things to say about it in review!

One thing that it somehow just now occurred to me to wonder about was Turtledove's religion. In the Worldwar/Colonization series Christianity is largely irrelevant, in that no characters make a huge deal out of it, as is atheism and pretty much any other religion other than Judaism and Islam. There are no point-of-view (POV) Muslim characters, but others characters describe them in somewhat less than flattering terms. They are the people most violent (although not particularly effective) in their protests, as well as the most hostile generally. Turtledove generally uses POV characters across the spectrum, but this is one notable exception. In contrast, many of the most compelling POV characters are Jewish. A quick search reveals that the he is apparently Jewish himself, which comes as absolutely no surprise. I suspect this discrepancy in portrayals of characters of various religions is no accident, which I am slightly disappointed by.

Another issue I had like twice in this book was liberties taken with the fourth wall. Characters were having thoughts that were out of character and more general narration. That was a weird choice, or very sloppy. It's weird how attached I am to my third-person limited narration, and how much it disturbs my concentration when it compromised! Another related irritation is when a POV character makes a discovery and the reader is kept in the dark. Boo! It succeeds in making me anxious to read the sequel though, so I suppose I can't complain too much!

All in all, this series is super awesome and I do not hesitate to recommend it to science fiction enthusiasts. It's very character- and plot-driven rather than grand idea-driven, which I consider to be a good thing. Fans of sci fi with Important Ideas instead of plot and characters won't like Turtledove as much as I do!

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